Eric Larkin. Photo courtesy of Ultimate Pros.
CHICAGO, ILL. —Bellator Fighting Championships officially announced today that it will hold a Featherweight Tournament in the promotion’s highly anticipated fourth season airing live on MTV2.
Eight world class 145 lb. fighters will face off for a chance at claiming the Season 4 Featherweight Tournament Championship, a check for $100,000, and more importantly, a shot at the title against current Bellator World Featherweight Champion, World’s #2 ranked Featherweight and self proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet,” Joe Warren.
While announcements regarding all eight participants will follow, collegiate wrestling phenom Eric Larkin has been confirmed for Bellator's third Featherweight Tournament.
No stranger to Bellator fans, Larkin (3-0) enters the competition fresh off of an impressive first round submission victory over the previously undefeated Marcus Andrusia at Bellator 28. The decorated wrestler has wasted no time in his MMA career to date, finishing all three of his fights as a professional in the very first round.
“I’m thrilled to announce Eric Larkin as our first confirmed participant in our upcoming Featherweight Tournament,” said Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Eric has unlimited potential in this sport, and I’m excited to see how he does in this stacked tournament.”
Fighting out of the Lion’s Den in Scottsdale, Arizona alongside Bellator World Welterweight Champion Ben Askren, Larkin began his professional MMA training in early 2009. Before his journey into the cage, Larkin wrestled his way to a 2003 National Championship at 149 pounds for Arizona State University, earned the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy, and picked up a 2003 ESPN ESPY Award nomination for best collegiate athlete.
After nearly making the 2008 US Olympic squad, Larkin decided a new challenge was needed in his life, and MMA was the perfect opportunity. Now a confirmed participant in the Bellator Season 4 Featherweight Tournament, Larkin is ready to establish himself as one of the best in the division.
“I'm definitely looking forward to this upcoming tournament,” Larkin said. “I know there are going to be some really tough guys in there. I'm not taking anyone lightly. I'm going to do my thing and get after it. I like fighting back-to-back so it's going to be fun.”
The tournament will mark the first time Larkin will fight as a featherweight, as his previous three victories came as a lightweight. While cutting weight can often be a challenge, Larkin sees it as anything but.
“The major benefits I'm going to get from dropping down to 145 are primarily going to be strength and leverage,” said Larkin. “I definitely feel like I'm going to be stronger at 145 than I would be at 155. At lightweight, there are guys cutting down from 180 and 190 to make the weight and I'm not even close to that. I think this cut to featherweight is going to be great for me.”